May 11, 2010

In the Name of God review

Paula J
olin's In the Name of God is an interesting look into the pull of Muslim fundamental beliefs on a young girl living in Syria who is struggling to maintain her faith. Nadia has always been an excellent student and a strong follower of Islamic law. When the secular Syrian authorities arrest her cousin for blasphemous talk, Nadia feels she must fight back. A young man named Walid soon has her convinced that violence is the solution to preventing Western influence from taking over the Syria she desperately wants to protect.

While the topic of religious extremism is a touchy issue that is handled relatively well by Jolin, I really felt unable to connect with the main character at all. Her constant criticism of others being not "Islamic" enough grated on my nerves, frankly, and I was unable to relate to her tunnel-visioned focus on putting her religion (and what she believes it stands for) above all else, including her education and her family. The ending redeems the book somewhat (I won't spoil it), but it is a little too abrupt and I could have done with some more resolution to the story. The book did raise some interesting questions I hadn't really considered before then, but it isn't one I would read a second time.

Overall, I'd rate it a 3 out of 5 stars.

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